Even after back to back subpar seasons, the Indianapolis Colts have decided to bring back veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton on a 1-year contract worth ten million dollars (espn.com). Hilton has been a mainstay in the Colts offense for nine straight seasons and the team obviously feels that he has a little bit left in the tank. The 31-year old Hilton is thrilled to return to Indy as evidenced by a few tweets that he sent out on March 24th.
A Closer Look at Hilton’s NFL Career
The Colts drafted Hilton in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Florida International. This was the same draft that the Colts took Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Hilton is the only current team member left from that draft which shows that the NFL stands for “Not For Long”.
The Colts looked like geniuses by selecting Hilton as he led the team in touchdown receptions right out the gate his rookie season and made the All-Rookie team (pro-football-reference.com). Though slight in stature at 5-9 and 183 pounds, Hilton has put together a solid NFL career so far. In fact, the Miami native was selected to four straight Pro Bowls from 2014-2017.
Hilton’s best statistical season was 2016 when he led the NFL in receiving yards with nearly 1500 and caught six touchdowns. Hilton also boasts some solid overall career numbers with 50 touchdowns and over 9,000 yards receiving. Though Hilton has been dogged by some nagging injuries in recent years, Colts fans are delighted to have him back in 2021.
Was bringing Hilton back a wise move for the Colts?
Though Hilton has not been as productive the past couple of years, there are several reasons why it was a smart decision for the Colts to bring him back. Firstly, the Colts brought in a new quarterback in Carson Wentz from the Eagles. Wentz will need a veteran wide out that he can count on and be able to help him learn the offense. Hilton knows the Colts playbook better than any other receiver on the roster as this will be his 10th season with the team.
Not only does Hilton know the playbook, he provides critical leadership to the locker room of a young Colts team. Head Coach Frank Reich, a former NFL QB, knows how valuable veteran leadership is to any football team. Reich also knows that Hilton will play a key role to the Colts getting back to the playoffs again in 2021.
Lastly, bringing back Hilton was a smart move because it is a low risk-high reward situation for the Colts. Hilton’s deal is only for one year so if he were to get injured or be unproductive the Colts will not be on the hook for a huge amount of cash. Plus, even though he is 31 years old, Hilton still has blazing 4.3 speed that any team would be glad to have on its roster.